Big Picture

February 19, 2011

It is to easy to get sucked into it.  The hard part is to realize how small this environment is, dettach yourself and see the big picture, without looking down on people.  Just being with them but observing from afar.  With them and close to them and at the same time far away.

I mean sometimes I look at them, not with pity, and think, for them, this is as far as their horizon stretches.  So when they are one of the top students: they’ve done it.  They’ve reached the “ultimate”- the borders of the circle.  For them, the circle is magnified as a globe.  But for me, this circle is just another limited circle.  I’m outside the circle in so many ways.

I don’t blame them.  I easily get sucked in sometimes too.  Take grades, as my prime example.  I easily get sucked in, I want that grade.  My stomach churns over the answer I knew-but why? Why did I change it?  I KNEW it.  But I’m trying to rise above that.  I want to aim for that perfect grade, but I hate this becoming materialistic over grades.  It really is so material.  Material too me is anything to which we ascribe value that without our deciding its valuable means nothing.  Imagine if nobody had ever decided that gold was valuable, then it really has no innate value.  And money, in another world, is just paper.  But some concepts: independence, faith, love- they have innate value.  They are not material.  But exams, grades, if we choose not to care, if we choose to see them for their true value, they are not more or less than what we, society, ascribe to them.  Knowledge, on the other hand, like independence, cannot be risen above- its value speaks for itself.  That’s why when we say “the most important thing is that you understand the material”, it is more than just a pitiful pat on the back.  It is a philosophical truth.

This “ultimate” of theirs- when I examine its parts- not to try to defend myself or make excuses- but it is not of great caliber really or supreme at all.  Why sweat over questions that are faulty to begin with?  The doctors think their questions are so great.  Think they decide who is a good student and who is sharp and who is not.  And for some reason, we fall for it.  We hand them that authority.  But really, and not look down on them, but they too have become sucked in their own false belief that their horizon is the farthest, their pinnacle the highest.  But no, I’ve been around the world too much to know that this is a small microenvironement, barely representative of anything worth caring for.  They are like many ants, and not in an undermining way, and this is their anthill.  I chose to be the eagle who soars above the whole landscape.

I’m not giving up, but from now on I’m going to see things differently-as they are.  I will still aim for a perfect grade everytime, but what should matter to me is not the 30 or the 23, it’s did I understand, did I persevere or not.  Because the former is of a relative, ascribed value and the latter is of a universal, undeniable caliber.

Egypt, Feb 11, had a big role in helping me see this, realize the greatness of core value, help me once again see how far this Earth stretches.  The fact that I travel so much also helps.  So many of my petty worries seem to fall in the Atlantic Ocean back and forth, that I’m forced to see the big picture.

And that’s why I’ve decided to let this black hole suck as hard as it wishes, but to stay nonchalant on my own planet, admiring the universe in its greatness, its vastness, and its true beauty.  It’s like this is their world, their entire world, but then you compare the Earth’s size, which is already more massive than we can imagine, to the Sun.  And you realize how many times the Earth can fit into the Sun and your perspective is altered entirely.  Then you take our Sun, that big, ball of fire (plasma, actually) and compare it to the greater, much, much larger stars of the universe and again your perspective is altered.  Then you realize that even stars have long been put out, and not only is your perspective altered, it is expanded.

Then you look at the universe as a whole.  As a sum of its parts.  And you gasp.

How materialistic, how narrow-minded, how deceived we have been.  And for how long.


Goosebumps for Heroes

February 13, 2011

Goosebumps rise,
as I see the crowds’ uproar tonight.
These are the crowds
that will finally set things right.

Goosebumps rise,
as Egypt stands tall and graceful after Tunisia.
History, do record!
Let the oppressors desperately wish for amnesia!

I hope Goosebumps for heroes,
will rise on our children’s arms and hands.
When they hear of our victories,
And live content in their lands.

Our spring has sprung,
our fall has fell.
Winter’s frost has melted.
Soon in summer we dwell.

We will once again be heroes:
no shame, no weakness, no remorse.
Our peace will not be silence,
And our wise silence will not be forced.

Viva la revolution!
This uprising must not fail!
I don’t want to soothe my children,
with history’s lonely tales.

Nay, let our lullabies be:
The past holds much strength and glory.
But know this o child:
Our present has a very similar story.

No longer:
We were, we were, we were.
No longer:
We lost. We suffered. We endured.

Yes, for too long there was oppression.
But this is how we spoke up.
This is how our Ummah rose,
This is when we all woke up.

This is how we retrieved
our long-deserved but forgotten rights.
This is how we earned respect,
Peacefully, but with all our might.

This is how we drove out the oppressors,
Displayed what strength was truly about.
Freedom’s Match first lit,
then Revolution’s Flames burst out.

This is how you may now sit safe,
under the shade of Justice’s Tree.
Now tend carefully to our pride,
and always o child…. always be free.

Written: January 30, 2011

Egyptian Freedom:  February 11, 2011

Bright Freedom

February 8, 2011

Egypt…  Seeing the poverty, the injustice, the impossible circumstances they live under… all we can think is how miserable we feel for them, how necessary this revolution is.  Indeed they are seeking life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.  Three words well chosen, three values well abandoned.  Now comes a test of whether all men were created equal, and how sacred democratic values really are.  But we see in favor of personal interest, many have marginalized the three ideals the constition of the world’s main power was built on.  Shameful.

But what gives us pride is the crowds.  The masses.  The heroes out there demanding their rights.  Liberty Square- I wish I could join.  They have created their own community, their own “republic”.  They have a ‘lost and found’ stand, an entertainment stand, they are now singing their strong protests.  A couple had their wedding there- I wouldn’t be surprised if they met in that micro-environment.  As they persist, we wonder if we would be able to do that.  Put all else on hold and seek what is most important.

But then you look at them and realize: Really, what do they have to lose?  Yes, their poverty is unnerving- deeply upsetting actually  considering how wealthy their country is- but when it comes to revolution that poverty is their strength.  They have nothing to lose- only freedom to gain.  They don’t have the superficial matters that clutter our lives.  They have Tahrir Square and they have each other.  It is one of the greatest lessons of how less is more.  Much more.  Less, for them, is everything.

It reminds me of Hajj.  It is the same spirit of Hajj- when so many people are crowded together for a noble purpose- only a deep, loving connection can result from that.  Maybe its resemblance to Hajj is what makes me almost envious to be with them in that honorable square.

I would offer anything in my possession to ensure that Egypt’s victory is hastened.  That it arrives this very moment.  But Allah knows what we knows not.  Maybe they need this time to strengthen their brotherhood.  To protest at the top of their lungs so that the resonating air becomes a resonating wave of freedom- liberating them after all these years.  Maybe, if it comes too soon they won’t solidify this strongly.  Won’t have enough time to inhale the air of freedom… after all these years.

Please Egypt, don’t give up.  Don’t go back home until he leaves- really.  Because your chants are liberating us, too.  We are all Egyptian, we all want freedom and justice.  Your presence in the Square ignite in us hope.  Don’t let the hype fade.  Freedom should never fade.

Show us, show the world, how bright freedom really is.

Yasir Qadhi | A Brief Statement Regarding the Situation in Egypt |

February 1, 2011

Yasir Qadhi | A Brief Statement Regarding the Situation in Egypt |

Very well put mashAllah…